April 8, 2022

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Reporting from the Battlefield 

This week, we’re having a conversation with Melissa Jackson, NLTE’s Chief Operating Officer and the President of our Georgia chapter. Read on to learn about the excellent work she and her Georgia team are doing, and the highlights of their accomplishments.

Is there a change you and your family experienced that amplified your concern about education?  

The school shutdowns of 2020 led to some painful realizations about what was going on in my children’s education. One day, my 8th grader showed me an assignment from his debate teacher. Students were told to read an article that encouraged defunding the police, claimed the U.S. is sytemically racist, and highlighted child activists who organized a BLM protest. 

I reached out to the teacher to ask if she would be presenting opposing viewpoints. She said, “I would not expect middle schoolers to understand the topic, much less debate it.” I wondered why she would assign the article if she thought her students couldn’t fully understand the topic! This seemed like a blatant attempt by this teacher to indoctrinate kids with her radical political views. I saw this as but one example of a troubling trend in education that made me very concerned with what my kids were being taught to believe at school.

What sparked your involvement in No Left Turn in Education? 

In October 2020, my father-in-law sent me a video of Dr. Fishbein on Tucker Carlson Tonight. I contacted Dr. Fishbein, and after learning more about NLTE, a group of friends and I decided in February 2021 to launch a chapter in Fulton County, Georgia.

Chapter Leaders with Alveda King

Highlight some of your chapter’s accomplishments.

In on year, we have launched eleven active chapters, five of which are in the largest school districts in metro Atlanta, and two of which are among the largest in the country. 

In Georgia, as in all the NLTE chapters, we focus on the four Es – educate, empower, engage, and eradicate. 
We have EDUCATED our communities and local decision makers about the radical curriculum, lessons, material, and training being implemented in K-12 schools. In addition to parents, students, and teachers sharing information with us about what is going on in schools, we have been filing public records requests. For example, we found sexually explicit content in school resources. When our Forsyth chapter exposed obscene content in several school library books, the local district pulled eight explicit books from its media centers for further review. The district has pledged to implement a new process in all of its media centers that will screen books more thoroughly. This commitment would have never happened without our Forsyth chapter’s collaborative efforts within their community, and their willingness to connect with school board members and staff to share what they had exposed. 

Our members have even made the news for their engagement in their communities. Most recently, Chelle Brown from Cherokee County was featured by Laura Ingraham on The Ingraham Angle after she confronted her school board with obscene content in a school library book.

Chelle exposed the obscene content in a book in high school libraries.

Members of our Forsyth chapter also filed several open records requests relating to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, including one that revealed a district-wide DEI audit of school libraries. The audit report claimed that white characters and authors were overrepresented, and that the school library contained books that were allegedly “too white, too male, too old.”

To date, our Georgia chapters have held 25 public events. We have ENGAGED policymakers to discuss the dangers of radical indoctrination to our children, and we have presented model legislation to state lawmakers and the Governor’s office that would prevent teaching hateful and divisive concepts about race. We also speak regularly at school board meetings on topics such as obscenity in school materials, parental rights, and the importance of blocking hateful and divisive concepts from curricula. These examples demonstrate how we EMPOWER our members to engage the individuals, boards, policymakers, and legislators whose decisions impact children’s education.

Our “Freedom in American Education” Conference brought together some of the brightest minds in education reform.

One of our members also engaged the Governor’s office when she discovered that the state government was holding race-based trainings to more than 18,000 state employees – including educators.  She informed key staff members that this training was in direct violation to the Governor’s directive against teaching racially divisive concepts. Thanks to her outreach, the Dept. of Behavioral Health issued a directive prohibiting this kind of instruction.

Book signing with Dr. Carol Swain and Dr. Christopher Schorr at the Georgia No Left Turn in Education conference 

NLTE’s Forsyth Chapter was invited to be a stakeholder in the creation of a 5-year strategic plan for the Forsyth County School District – a level of access and influence that parents wouldn’t have had without NLTE’s visibility and stature.

In May of last year, we successfully worked with the Governor’s office to have the Math Equity Toolkit ERADICATED from the State Department of Education website. The Math Equity Toolkit taught educators to promote equity and anti-racism through math instruction rather than striving for all students, regardless of race to excel.

Taking action at the state Capitol

What is your advice to others who want to get involved? 

We’ve made it easy to start an NLTE chapter for anyone who is committed to advancing excellent education for ALL children. NLTE created a step-by-step guide to launching a chapter successfully. A year ago, I was a concerned mom overwhelmed by the power and control the schools had over our children. Now, I’m leading the largest chapter in the nation and concurrently serving on the Executive Team, as NLTE’s Chief Operating Officer. NLTE has empowered me to make a difference in education in Georgia and nationwide.

What makes NLTE different?

Joining NLTE means that you are part of a TEAM. Our members are empowered by strength in numbers: They are never alone when they speak at school board meetings or sit down with legislators. We’re the “boots on the ground,” not merely keyboard warriors. We play offense, not defense. We share our wins and support each other through challenges. 

Our chapters have a lot of autonomy, but still are constantly supported by the national leadership. We facilitate ongoing communication among all our chapters, providing weekly chapter support meetings and monthly national meetings. The leadership team is accessible at all times to support our chapters. 

Take Action

-Your tax contribution of $10, $25, or $50 will expand our successes in Georgia and in more places across the country.

-SHARE this newsletter with your friends, family, and community to educate them on what NLTE is fighting for. 

-JOIN our team. Find your local chapter here.